4/28/17

April Wrap-up!


I start to feel like a bit of a broken record ... but seriously, how is April over already?

The Books

Books Read: 6 (A Gathering of Shadows, A Conjuring of Light, The Glass Arrow, The Bane Chronicles, Throne of Glass and The Midnight Star)
This seems like a much smaller number than last month; however, I participated in Tome Topple, and two of these books were over 500 pages, so I'm pretty proud of myself.  At the time of writing and scheduling this post, I'm not quite finished The Midnight Star, but I'm 99% sure that I'll have it done by the 30th.

Books Acquired: 8 (The Anne of Green Gables series)
I've been craving a re-read of this series for a while now.  I read the first few when I was younger, but never continued all the way through the series.  If not this year, then I will definitely make this a new year's resolution for next year.

The Challenges

Prequel & Sequel Challenge: +28 (finished two series!)
TBR Challenge: +3 (The Bane Chronicles, The Glass Arrow and The Midnight Star)
Flights of Fantasy: +5 (all except The Glass Arrow, it was a good fantasy month!)

The Blog

Another quiet month on the blog -- just a few reviews shared, and my Tome Topple post.  I think I've been in a bit of  a blogging slump, and lacking focus with what I want to write on here.  I'm going to do some deep thinking in May and see what comes next.

 The Other Stuff

I started my new job on April 3rd and I am loving it so far.  In previous jobs, I've always been tossed into the workload, and just learned as I went along.  This company had a very formal training program set out for me, with lots of time to read and learn and explore before starting with my real work.  It was a refreshing change to be able to take the time to learn, but I'm also super excited to start doing my actual job.  My team members are all really nice and welcoming, and I am incredibly grateful that this change has worked out so well.

Our bathroom renos finally wrapped up on the Easter long weekend, and we've spent a ton of time cleaning and organizing and getting the house put back together.  And, of course, a couple more trips to Ikea for a few more things.  Finally, I think we're almost done with purchases and renos (with the exception of a reading armchair for me).  And just in time as it appears that the warmer spring weather is approaching!  We've been to a few local parks and explored some trails, and I cannot wait to spend more time outdoors this summer.  Here's a photo of Cliff Falls, a beautiful waterfall that we just stumbled across a couple of weeks ago.


How about you?  How was your April?  Let me know if you've read something amazing so far this year!  Thank you for stopping by =)

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4/26/17

Tome Topple Wrap-up

Tome Topple was hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes.  This challenge wrapped up last Friday, April 21st, but I've been lazy about posting my wrap-up!

CHALLENGES: 
1. Read more than 1 tome
2. Read a graphic novel 
3. Read a tome that's part of a series
4. Buddy read a tome 
5. Read an adult novel

I started A Gathering of Storms before the readathon started, but finished it a few days into the readathon.  Then, I read and finished A Conjuring of Light, which was over 600 pages!  So, technically, I completed three challenges: I read more than one tome, read a tome that was part of a series, and read an adult novel.  I'm pretty proud of myself for finishing the entire series this year though (pats self on back).  I'm already looking forward to the next round of this readathon!

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4/18/17

Fireworks - Katie Cotugno

I
I loved Katie Cotugno's debut novel, How to Love, and really enjoyed her second novel, 99 Days.  While I enjoyed Fireworks, there were a few things that fell flat for me.

The story follows Dana and Olivia, two best friends.  Olivia has her sights set on being a singing star, while Dana is waiting tables in their hometown.  When Olivia heads to an audition, Dana decides to tag along and ends up getting cast in a girl group alongside her best friend.

First, the things that I liked.  The book is set in the 1990s, so there were a lot of elements of my own teen years that I could identify with.  Dana's character development was also incredibly strong, as she struggled with her alcoholic mother and her feeling of entrapment in her hometown.

Unfortunately, the friendship between Dana and Olivia fell flat for me, and I found Olivia to be quite annoying and immature.  The whole idea of one friend being famous and another being along for the ride was very reminiscent of Emery Lord's Open Road Summer, but ORS handled the friendship better than this book did.  The book also addressed eating disorders, but it felt like the issue was overshadowed and not properly handled.  It also seemed quite unrealistic that Dana would be given the opportunity to be part of a singing quartet with no formal training, other than dancing and singing in her friend's living room.

I did enjoy Katie's writing, as I did with the previous books, and am already looking forward to picking up her next book.  I still liked this one, even though it didn't wow me like her previous books.

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

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4/11/17

Literally - Lucy Keating

I first heard about Lucy Keating last year, when I saw the beautiful cover of Dreamology all over Bookstagram.  Although I haven't picked up that book, the premise of Literally drew me in and I knew that I wanted to give Lucy's books a shot.

As a former English student, I loved the metafiction aspect of this book.  Annabelle, our main character, discovers that she's actually a character in a story, and the author makes an appearance in the book when Annabelle finds out that Lucy is controlling her life in order to create a Happy Ending.  There's so much excellent commentary on what makes a good story -- from happy endings to love triangles and everything in between.

If you haven't guessed from the amount of reading nerdiness on this blog, I am a massive book nerd and this book warmed my nerdy heart.  Annabelle's character irked me a little at the beginning of the book, but quickly grew on me and I found myself tearing through this short, sweet little book.

For those of you who like your contemporaries short and sweet, this book is perfect.  And if you're a literary connoisseur, you'll enjoy this book even more =)

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

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4/5/17

Tome Topple TBR -- Round 3

Crazy that this is the third round of Tome Topple!  I participated in both rounds last year, and really enjoyed taking the time to enjoy a chunkier read.  Too often we overlook these chunky books on our shelves in favour of quicker reads so that we can meet our Goodreads challenge or other reading challenges.  Having just finished the All the Short Ones Readathon, I'm really looking forward to savouring a lengthier read.  I have a lengthy list of books because I just frankly can't choose what I'd like to read at this exact moment.  I had added a poll on Goodreads to ask for help, and A Gathering of Shadows was picked for me; however, A Conjuring of Light then showed up at my library, so I had to start AGoS before Tome Topple so that I can read ACoL.  Book nerd problems, I tell ya.

This challenge is hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes.  It starts on April 7th at midnight in your time zone, and runs until April 20th, again at midnight in your time zone.

CHALLENGES: 
1. Read more than 1 tome
2. Read a graphic novel 
3. Read a tome that's part of a series
4. Buddy read a tome 
5. Read an adult novel

Books that I'm considering:
1. A Conjuring of Light (because it's a library book)
2. The Bane Chronicles (because it's ridiculous how long this has sat on my shelves)
3. Strange the Dreamer (because it's pretty and just showed up in my mailbox)
4. Lady Midnight (because I think I'm the only person in the world who hasn't read this yet)
5. Shantaram (because it's intimidating as hell and I said I'd read it this year)
6. The Name of the Wind (see above)
7. The Way of Kings (see above, yet again -- is there an intimidating books readathon?  because I think I should join that one too)

Clearly I'm not going to complete all the challenges (especially because there's no graphic novels on this list!) and I definitely won't read all of the books on the list, but there's some good (and intimidating!) books to choose from.  Anything that you've read that I should bump to the top of my pile?  Let me know in the comments below.  If you're participating in this readathon, hope your enjoy your tome(s)!

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4/4/17

Gem & Dixie - Sara Zarr

I've read, and thoroughly enjoyed, two of Sara Zarr's previous novels (Sweethearts and How to Save a Life), so I went into Gem & Dixie hopeful that it would be another heartwarming contemporary.  I liked it, I did, but I think it was missing a little bit of the "wow factor" that I felt in her other two books.

The story follows two sisters, Gem and Dixie, who live with their mother who is often absent from their lives, due to working evenings and her on and off again struggle with drugs.  The story is told from Gem's perspective, the older sister who is struggling to shelter and take care of her younger sister who, in turn, is trying to pull away from his sister's shadow.  When the girls' father comes back into their lives suddenly, a series of events spinball from there that tests the strength of their relationship and their sense of identity.

I think my main struggle with this book is that I found it hard to identify with either of the girls.  At first, it seemed like I would identify with Gem, since she's an older sister, but I found it hard to for most of the book.  I've been thinking and reflecting about the characters and the story for a couple of days now, and I still can't quite put my finger on what it is that caused Gem to rub me the wrong way.  There were definitely some moments where I just couldn't understand her rationalization for doing the things that she was doing, and it made it hard to connect to the story.

With that being said, I do think that this is an excellent story of sisterly bonding and touches on the imperfect family bond in a thoughtful way.  Although it's not a new favourite, it's still a solid contemporary with serious heart.

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

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3/31/17

March Wrap-up!


The Books

Books Read: 14 (The Mothers, Girl Coming in for a Landing, The Tiger Rising, Freak the Mighty, A Little Something Different, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Little Knife, The Too-Clever Fox, the second and third Harry Potter novellas, Lips Touch, The Assassin's Blade, Gem & Dixie and Exit, Pursued by a Bear)
My ADSOReadathon TBR was 14 books, and I honestly didn't think that I could read that many.  Although I didn't read exactly the 14 books that I had planned to read, I did read the number that I had planned to read!  SUPER proud of myself this month.

Books Acquired: 1 (Strange the Dreamer)
Just the one pre-order!

The Challenges

Prequel & Sequel Challenge: +4 (the novellas!)
TBR Challenge: +12 (all except The Mothers and Gem & Dixie)
Flights of Fantasy: +1 (Lips Touch)

The Blog

Definitely a quieter month on the blog, but I had a lot going on in the real world (more on that in the section below!)

 The Other Stuff

First of all, let me just tell you that I AM SO READY FOR SPRING.  We've had the snowier and colder winter than any other year, and I am so done with the white stuff.  It even snowed in early March.  MARCH!  On the West Coast of Canada, we generally get a couple of cm of snow in early December, maybe a week or two of chilly weather, but it just rains for the majority of the season.  This year we had weeks and weeks of snow, and weather so cold that the snow never melted!  I'm ready for rain, sunshine, cherry blossoms, daffodils and tulips -- bring on the balmy spring weather!

We started some more renovations in our house and are currently close to completing the addition of a bathroom in our basement.  The house came with the plumbing roughed in, but we had to do the rest.  Or our contractor did actually, but it was fun to learn a little bit about construction along the way!  I'm writing my final exam for my course in early April, and am already looking forward to having a break from school to A) read a ton and B) deep clean my house from all of the renovation dust that has spread into every little nook and cranny!

Finally, the highlight of the month is that I found a new job!  Since we moved, the commute has been less than ideal, with a drive, a train and a bus ride in order to get to work.  Plus, I've been wanting to move into more of a managerial role, and there weren't any opportunities for advancement at my current workplace.  So, I started looking for something downtown, which is geographically further away from my home, but more accessible because there's a direct train that connects the outlying city where I live with the downtown core.  I found a job that will be challenging, but will also provide me with some growth opportunities, so I'm excited!  My first day will be April 3rd.

How about you?  Are you as ready for spring as I am?  Let me know if you've read something amazing so far this year?  Thank you for stopping by =)

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